The New Year is on the way. Everyone gets excited, making resolutions while saying to themselves and anyone who will listen, “It’s going to be a great year, the best year ever.” This will be true for some people since they will be extraordinarily successful. However, many people won’t be successful, and won’t have the best year ever. Their year will look a lot like the year before, and the year before that one. (I’m not being cynical here, just realistic.) Why won’t this year be any different for these people? They have missed some of the basic and fundamental keys to success both in business and in life.
There are some simple principles that they have been exposed to in their lives, but haven’t taken the time to think about them. There is, however, good news, and there is a solution: 6 basic key principles. Here is my iron clad guarantee: if you follow the 6 basic principles outlined here, you will have a year that will exceed even your own expectations, and maybe the expectations of those around you!
#1 — Set personal goals– You are saying to yourself, “Okay, thanks, boy genius! I never thought of that one. Wow!” Please take the time to hear me out here. We all know that we should have goals, and we say that we have them. Still, 99% of the people that I meet say, “I know I should set goals and write them down, but I haven’t made the time.” Take out a piece of paper, a notebook, a piece of bark, or a stone tablet. Write out specific goals for each area of your life (financial, social, career, etc.) Post them where you can see them daily. You can’t hit a target unless you are aiming for it, and you can’t achieve a goal without having it. You will be amazed how you will feel when you are done. You now have a track to run on.
#2 — Set business goals– I meet so many CEO’s, COO’s, executives, and entrepreneurs who do not have specific tangible goals for their businesses. No, I am not kidding, but I wish I were. For instance, I once was speaking with a CEO. When I asked him what his goals were for the next year, he looked down and replied, “That’s a good question.” I then said, “You do have them, don’t you?” He said, “sort of, but they aren’t in writing.” Anyone in a leadership role should have specific written goals for their business every year. There should be goals for revenue, cash flow, sales, technology, etc. If you can work with the team and develop them, that’s even better. There should be no more than 5-6 goals for the year, and everyone from the front desk to the loading dock should know what they are – every one.
#3 — Decide what you’re not going to do– Most people concentrate most of their time on what they are going to do. What about what you are not going to do? You may say “ This year, I am not going to feel guilty about…” or, “this year, I am not going to do things because I feel obligated to do them” or, “this year, I am not going to spend time on…” or, “this year I am not going to say yes when I mean no.” In identifying what you are not going to do, it frees up time to do things that you want to do or should do. It can be very liberating while also freeing up time for more important tasks.
#4 — Focus on your time “spending” – I don’t believe you can manage your time. Everyone gets 24 hours, so you can’t get more or less. What I believe you can do is prioritize how you spend your time. The first step is to identify time drains and try to eliminate them or change the approach. What takes up a ton of your time that shouldn’t? Fix it. The next step is to decide where this year you are going to spend your precious time. You may say “I want to spend more time on family,” or, “I want to spend more time on my health.” Then here is the next step, which is what some people miss: block it into your calendar, Outlook or PDA. I meet many people who say, “I would like to ________ but I just don’t have the time.” Here is the question: do you really not have the time, or is it just that you haven’t made the time? If you really truly want to accomplish something this year, spend the time.
#5 — Do something new– In the New Year, try to embrace something brand new. Join a club, sing karaoke, shave your head, learn a foreign language, take dance lessons, learn to surf, go to Paris, or stay at a monastery. Be bold! Step outside of anything you have ever done before and learn something entirely new and different. Ask yourself the question: “What can I do this year that I have never done before?” It creates momentum, breaks the cycle of boredom, gets you going, and gets the juices flowing. Besides, you might have an amazing experience you wouldn’t have otherwise.
#6 — Make a contribution- What can you give to your community? Your family? Your friends? How can you make a contribution? I am not talking about a check, which is pretty easy to write. What skills, talents, and abilities can you contribute to help change your part of the world in a small way? Giving makes you feel better about yourself, and the generosity you give comes back to you tenfold.
If you take the time to think through and address these principles, your life can change dramatically in one year. I know you are busy and don’t have time, but here is the big question: If you don’t ever take the time to identify and articulate your goals, how will you know that you are spending your time the way that you should? Research shows that the average American spends 10 years of their life watching TV. Take time out now to plan your year. You have 12 months, 52 weeks, 365 days, 8,760 hours. Make them all count – that is what successful people do.
Originally appeared in B2B Magazine
Photo: Getty Images